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The Communicators

News/Business. People who shape the digital future.

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TOPIC FREQUENCY

China 9, Syria 5, United States 4, America 3, Tunisia 3, North Korea 3, Alec Ross 2, U.s. 2, Facebook 2, Joe Marx 1, Danny Dan Nondeputy 1, Named Robert 1, Leaderlessness 1, Clinton 1, Deloitte 1, Robert Ford 1, Lestness 1, Thomas Jefferson Or Nelson 1, Joseph Mark 1, Helen Benedict 1,
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  CSPAN    The Communicators    News/Business. People who  
   shape the digital future.  

    September 3, 2012
    8:00 - 8:30pm EDT  

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same research, a novel. helen benedict has joined us here at columbia university. .. i think we are almost 200 official twitter accounts with a
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couple of million followers who are using it for communications but a greater consequence, in my opinion, is part of what we're looking at are some really tough traditional foreign policy challenges and thinking how we can apply two of america's you anemic strengths our ability to innovate and our technology. >> host: will you release information via facebook or twitter? >> guest: we do. there are times when the official statement from the spokesperson or the department will come over twitter. it's interesting to think about syria, frx, and syria know member of the united states government will ever be able to get a fair shake on syrian media. we have a terrific ambassador in syria named robert 0 ford. his way of communicates since he was being blacked out was publish on facebook and so a lot
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of what he shared both with the syrian people as well as with the outside world came from posting he made on facebook. even things like satellite photos demonstrating atrocity by the assad regime the way the state department published the comment was over facebook. >> host: you wrote that the 21ist seize i have a terrible time to be a control freak. >> guest: it is. we live in a time where the kind of control that a ceo or secretary of at a time might have had fifteen, twenty, twentd five years ago, that kind of control that leader had then is gone, and it's not coming back. it used to be the case that the most people got their news from the one newspaper they read in the morning and the one tv news broadcast they watched at night, and if you were able to effectively engage that one newspaper or that one news broadcast, your message was out
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there. it was fine. today we truly live in a 24/7 media cycle. our ability to control our information environment is gone. and how a government response that either by fighting it, or by understanding that universal connectiveness and the loss of control commute, good thing for one citizens try how governments respond to that is a testament value. >> host: also joins us is joseph marx who is a reporter. mr. marx. >> a lot of people accredit the arab spring with the moment the social media took charge. how important social media was to the arab spring and how is it going to effect social movements going forward? >> host: some people refer to them as facebook or twitter revolution. i don't buy it. i think that people in the country rebel because of things like a lack of democratic participation, a lack of
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economic opportunity, frustration about corruption, frustration with families and high food prices. inthe five things had more to do with causing people to rebel than social media. now having said that, i do think that we can look and say with the benefit of some retrospection there are clearly three things that connection technologies did in the context of these revolutions. number one, it accelerated movement making. the process of the developing political movements, whether it was appar tie in south africa or the pro-democracy europe in. these were movements that tended to be years long in the making. because of the relatively open flat forms are social media. movements that would have taken years now take days, months, weeks. the information environment has been enriched because of social media. that was a brand consequence in
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the context of the revolutions. so in tunisia, most people know the story of mohamed fruit and vegetable vender lightening hymn on fire of december 17 of 2010. what people don't know in that then unleashed a serious of protests that unleashed the arab spring. what people don't understand is why relatively isolated event in a small town in knew teesha was able to quickly spread through tunisia. the able was to quickly spread through tunisia the protest themselves were captured over mobile phones. the video were cure rated and too knee shans people would relatively small social media following were able to reach huge numbers of people through things like satellite television and social media more broadly.
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the third thingic we can say is that social mia and technology facilities leaderlessness. leaderlessness. there's knob's face you're going put on a t-shirt in the revolution. if you look at the leadership structure of the revolution, it looks more like the internet itself. like a web more so with a pyramid inspiring and organizing the masses. >> leader lestness itself can make it difficult to form policy if you don't have someone you can talk with and revolutions to take hold. how is the state department dealing with that? >> guest: it's a huge problem. on the one hand the relative leaderlessness of the internet-enabled movement. on the one hand it's a good thing. the revolutions are citizens centered than propelted by a personality. on the other hand, what about when the revolution is over? who is in charge? where is thomas jefferson or
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nelson man dallas? the leadership is distributed. there aren't go-to leaders around whom the country will rally. there right-hand turn institutions as in poll lane with the solidarity movement behind them a new government can be formed. it presents enormous challenges to the state democrat and presents even bigger challenges frankly to the people in a country that is just overthrown the ruler has to then ask itself what now? who is going to lead us. there are both god aspects and negatives a pockets to the roll of the internet in propelling the movements. >> host: you mentioned robert ford's work in syria. he ceptd up even since the ambassador has been close there had. and virtual embassy in teheran. where do they fall short? glrg they fall well short of what a real traditional embassy
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can do because what facebook doesn't do is replace the very necessary work of engaging face to face. i do think we're able to engage with people that's a good thing. but it's something considerably less than having 100 anemia a country getting to know engage with business leaders and civil society letters and others. it's wort doing, it's a case where i don't think we can replace our embassies around the world with virtual l presents. >> host: just to follow up on the question, what are the limits? besideses having that physical presence? what other limits are there to diplomacy and technology? >> the fist thing it's important not be technology-centric. i was a history major. i'm not a engineer. the way i think about the work is not leaderring with the technology, not leading with the
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internet but rather thinking about the foreign policy challenge. and in confronting foreign policy challenge -- there a lot of different tools in the toolbox. one of them is technology. i think that it can be powerful, it's a great way to communicate, we're using it to a positive effect in syria, for example, right now where we have rided nonlee that assistance to rebels to be able to communicate safely. but in other cases, that which requires a real person present that which requires a relationship. i still requires good old fashioned boot strap diplomacy. >> host: is it a bad thing -- go back to one of your previous answers. is it a bad thing to not wear on your t-shirt on gather around. >> guest: thing sometimes there can be. it's not driven by a
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personality. on the other hand, as you need leaders. let's think about the state department, for example. i mean, even though the state department has gone from being what would be considered a relatively innovation avers environment to something that deloitte and the public -- cabinet agency in government that required good old fashioned leadership. and so, if you taxing hiblg, for example, out of the mission. i don't know we would have been able to do a infrastructure of this. speaking for ourselves, it took a traditional hire ark call leader to drive so much innovation and change in our department. it took a leader like that to dramatically change the department over the last four years. >> host: does she tweet or
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post on facebook personally? >> guest: not personally. she's a voracious consumer of information. she's not keying keying it herself with her thumbs. >> host: with are talking with alec ross senior adviser and joseph mark of next govern is our next reporter. >> host: you were talking about describing secretary -- how did that happen? how did you take a lot of diplomats who have been in their positions for a number of years and get them on twitter and facebook? >> guest: sure thing. the it's not twist twitter and facebook. it's about mixi part of what i want to do is broaden the notion of the tools that we use beyond google, facebook, and twitter. that's one point i want to
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make. as to your question, we have knead a value in a couple of different things. every diplomat from the 22-year-old entering the foreign service to a rising bass is now getting trained on the role of technology within foreign policy. every rising american ambassador has been trained by me personally. it's the case because we're a global i are distributed organization working in over 190 countries. there are foreign service officers all the over the world that needs a lot of hands-on assistance. we created something. like a reverse internship program. it's called virtual l student. i'm 40 years old. i didn't send or receive a phone. i'm not a digital native. every under the the age of 30 is fish in the water. let's take advantage. what we have done is created a
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intership called the virtual student foreign service. american university students actually tutor veteran foreign service officers and actually help foreign service officers around the world leverage technology within the good old fashioned world of diplomacy. to date we have 343 of these interns coaching our diplomats in 90 countries. that's another way we're cat losing a culture of technology and innovation at the state department. >> host: is there a urge to clam up after the wick i can leaks. >> guest: far to the contrary. think about the wick i can -- wikileaks. has a web address. it's a transnational and virtual in nature. when you recognize that an
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organization like that can -- can so disrupt the conduct of foreign policy, you can do one two of things. you can either curl in to the fetal position, or you can say you know what? these networks are of great power and great consequence in our foreign policy, we need to be as strong as possible. secretary clinton is not one to crawl in the fetal position nor any of the rest of us at the state department. it's affirm to the need for us to be internet smart. >> host: one of the sec -- freedom of speech. do you think that the internet is where speech is happening now? >> i do. look. -- the will of the people and
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preserve the free expression should be the first order. from the america's first secretary of state to the 67th the values have been the same. value and free expression, valuing the association of freedom and free frees. can you cash about any of these values and freedoms in the year 2012, then you got believe in the freedom to exercise this on the internet. the freedom of speech in 2012 has to extend to the internet. it has to extend to the internet. a free press has to extend to the internet. >> host: does it extend in china? >> guest: it doesn't. there are a lot of freedoms in china. it's interesting what is happen trying. there are more than half a billion internet users in china. more than 350 million of whom use social media, and over a
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billion of whom who are under the the age of 25. they put a huge effort on clamping down on the effort on the internet. because there are hundreds of millions of people publishing there the acted to manage the information environment is minimal. about a year ago if you search my name alec ross on a search engine in china you would have gotten a couple of million results. then with one someday it went to zero. they wiped me off the internet this china. you take a name, you know, jasmine revolution, occupy, revolt, and wipe it off the internet this china. but what you can't do is suppress discussions by tens or hundreds of millions of people and there have been many examples of that.
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>> host: one of the storylines is the so-called national kill switch. that is that still possible as technology changed enough that nations can't necessarily have that kill switch? >> guest: well it is technology logically possible. that's a -- you know, different people have different views. i think it's a problem. it is technologically possible, but the united states, for example, also invests on unabash edly in technology if a government turns off the internet, turn off global networks redecent bandwidth can be brought in. it's a losing game to try to shut off peoples' access to information. to wall off peoples' access to the digital environment. it blew up in mubarak's taste. the fact that he shut them off
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helped contributed to the panic and history ya in egypt. glig on that note of extra bandwidth can be brought us how has the borderless internet effected old fashioned question of state sovereignty, the board of governor invest in a lot of firewall technology used in china and iran and elsewhere? >> guest: the internet is disruptive in a variety of different ways. part of the way it is disruptive it can challenge the traditional notion of state sovereignty. bytes and bytes don't care where the physical border a pact is. we can see this, right now, for example in relation around internet governments. there a lot of governments that fear the loss of control that comes with connectedness. there a lot of bureaucrats around the world. i have seen and heard a lot of
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them. now they have figured how powerful the internet is in the context of governance. they want to regulate it in a new way. they want government to take over how the government internet is governed and how it works. they want to impose systems on top of the internet which they justify as say we're going to impose the sovereignty on the internet. the problem is that is not how the internet works. and so a test for government to take over the internet or change the governance structure, i think are misguided and they are ultimately not going to work. >> guest: another thing across the -- which often has by nine use when use in some context when used by the syrian regime and others. what responsibility does the state department and the u.s. government have to monitor and restrict the technologies? >> guest: that's great question. i think that as networking
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technologies become increasingly power and increasingly ambiguous the ability to oppress the people also grows. you can't take a utopian view of the internet and networking technologies. in fact, a government with malignant intent can bend these networks to infiltrate monitor and manipulate what's happening there. and to surveil the citizens. this is something that -- let me be blunt. it carries me i have a 5-year-old, 7-year-old, and 9-year-old. the world they you up is going to be different in terms of hypertransparency. we restrict the sale of technology which can be used to 0 prez people people in countries with sanction. there are export controls question help inform the licensing of certain products
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and services. but in your question, you made the right point. certain of the use of the technology are utterly benign. the same thing which can be used to inapt packet to determine whether people are organizing a protest can also be used to reasonable belie filter out spam. so you have to remember that the very same technologies that can be used for reasonable and benign purposes can also be used for malignant purposes. >> host: what is an camp? >> guest: there are a variety of different governments that the syrian governments and iranian governments and others have tries to access either from the united states or europe. and, you know, the state department engages, the problem is that to be blunted, there a lot of venders out there now. we can restrict the sale of engs ports of american companies.
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i am gla glad the exiewrpens joined us. there are selling gear it's a very recommunetive environment. there are countries around the world who will spending billions and tens of billions of dollars to try to monitor the information environment. whenever you have got that much none at play, they're going people who are trying to make the money. this has been a big problem. >> who are you reaching when you do digital diplomacy elsewhere in the world? i think something like 2% of americans use twitter for political purposes. >> yeah. you know, first of all i wouldn't i have to say it's for political purposes. what we're trying to do is
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increase commerce between the united states and other countries. what we're doing is debunk myths about the united states. so a lot of the not about politics per se. in term who we are reaching. there are over 5 billion mobile hand sets on planet earth. the average mobile penetration in developed country is about 116%. in developing countries, t about 70 or 0eu%. most of the people are using the hand sets to access social media platforms the state department publishes. we're reaching frankly large numbers of individuals the world around. there are about 2.4 the number is going to be three billion in the near future. what's also interesting to us is think about this from a development perspective and thinking about how, for example,
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sub-saharan africa or south-central asia are becoming connected how can the development programs can be more effective. how can we increase the health and well being. going above and beyond just traditional communication. glis you talk about gyre carats around the world and how you see their -- not all of them. exactly. we wanted to look at the other side. have you seen some that have been embraced and moved more toward democracy and freedom? >> guest: absolutely. i think that, you know, look i think particularly younger people, people who are growing up connected are much more comfortable with -- with the internet and much more comfortable with the disruption that it causes whether it's disruption in business, changing the music industry, changing the industry of journalism, or political change. and so a lot of what i'm seeing
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around the world even in authority began countries the young people get it. i have a feeling they are going to be the long-term drives of change. there have be a great many of champions other than hillary clinton who have seen these issues that she's elevated, and similarly made a foreign policy piratety for themselves. i think for example about sweden and the terrific prime minister. there are many leaders arounded world saying hij is right. internet freedom is something important for the freedom and economic prosperity in the future and we're going to adapt it for the own purposes. >> host: lifted some of the pun listing restriction. do you think the government played role in that. -- >> guest: i don't know what
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the impact of the lifing the restriction of the internet is. while it was a positive step forward what we like to see is them to eradicate the censorship board. the changes are one west feel good about. but we're trying to -- we're trying to temper that enthusiasm. recognizes there's a long way to go. i think as they bring the internet in to the country and it is taking steps do that, i think that will inevitably have a positive impact on society. you asked about north korea, i think it's intriguing what's happening there. powerful mobile networks in china now can reach almost pyongyang and people are risking life and limb now struggling. this smuggling mobile hand sets across the border from china in to north korea and, you know, the evidence is that it's
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disrupting the information environment somewhat in north korea. now, i don't think that a revolution is going to spring up there any time soon. it's going to be interesting to observe what changes, if any, take place because of a little bit of connectedness and historically blacked out country. >> host: how much time do you spend on the issue of cybersecurity in your work and policy? >> guest: i spend relatively little on both of those. the area of cybersecurity is so big that we have other folks that have at the state department focusing on it. to the extend i've engaging on it has been to ensure whatever cybersecurity policies are under consideration in the administration, in congress, do not undermine free expression. do not undermine the way that the internetworks.
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there's this tough balance to strike between security and openness. and, you know, i play a role in trying to help strike that balance between necessary security while also maintaining the openness that has allowed the internet to be the plat follow form for innovation it has been. it's a difficult balance to strike. >> host: this is ""the communicators" program. alecs are and joe marx. thank you. >> thank you. here's a look at book being published this week the late -- experiences serving as united nations secretary general in interventions. a life and war in peace. israeli politician danny dan nondeputy speaker presents the
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thoughts on relations between israel and the u.s. in "israel the will to prevail." william silver professor of finance and economics at new york city university recrownt the career of former federal reserve chair. in stromb thur monday's america emery university chronical the life and career of the late republican senator from south carolina. look for the tights in bookstores this coming week and be